• SILICA ALERT

    Silica Resource Packet

    Dear CSA Member:

    We are pleased to provide you this Silica Resource Packet.

    As you are aware, both California and Federal OSHA have issued new warnings and regulatory guidelines pertaining to silica and the hazards it presents in the construction trades.

    Employer obligations under the new Respirable Crystalline Silica standard for construction, found in the California Code of Regulations, Title 8, section 1532.3, commenced on June 23, 2017. Effective October 23, 2017, Cal/OSHA is fully enforcing all appropriate provisions of the standard. This follows federal OSHA’s approach regarding enforcement of their corresponding standard.

    Sign contractors who engage in activities that create silica dust, such as by cutting, grinding or blasting materials like concrete, stone and brick, must meet a stricter standard for how much of that dust workers inhale. The same goes for employers of tradespeople working around such activities. The new standard also specifies what services employers must make available to workers who are exposed to high levels of silica dust and the training required of those who are at risk.

    This new standard has been under development for almost 20 years and supersedes OSHA’s first silica standard, issued in 1971. The old standard required that silica dust particles, which are 100 times smaller than sand granules, be limited to 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air over an average of eight hours — the hours of a typical work shift. The new standard reduces that to 50 micrograms over the same time period.

    In addition to the exposure limits, the new rules require contractors to:

    1. Develop a written silica exposure control plan.
    2. Designate someone to implement the plan.
    3. Adjust housekeeping practices to maximize control of silica dust.
    4. Provide medical exams every three years to employees who are exposed to silica to the point of having to wear a respirator for 30 days or more each year. The exams must include lung-function tests and chest X-rays.
    5. Train workers on how to limit exposure to silica.
    6. Keep records of workers’ silica exposure and related medical treatment.

    Implementing the new rules requires an initial assessment of how much silica dust a company’s operations generate.

    EXCEPTION:  If an exposure reading falls below the level of 25 micrograms, then the company is not required to provide medical tests, develop a written plan or undertake any of the suggested engineering controls (such as wearing respirators, wetting work down with tools like a wet saw, or using a vacuum device to reduce the volume of dust).

    However, workers should nonetheless be aware of and take precaution from potential jobsite exposure caused by other onsite construction activities unrelated to their trade, such as demolition work, concrete, asphalt, stucco, drywall, gunite, etc, performed by other contractors.

    Q: What about plastics or acrylics?
    A: Federal Heath recently conducted a silica audit test at one of its facilities. Dennis Lytle, Federal Heath’s Safety Manager (and current CSA president), reports, “The sample was taken for 8 hours while all variety of acrylics/plastics were cut on our router. The levels were barely detectable, much less measurable. As such the readings were well below the permissible levels outlined in the Silica Standard.”

    Nonetheless, CSA members are reminded that results will be different for each shop, depending on the methods and machinery utilized. Each contractor is responsible for making its own determination — and maintaining proper documentation is mandatory.

    THESE RESOURCES, including the California Department of Industrial Relations silica assessment online e-tools, should be consulted for further guidance:

    https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/dosh_publications/P08-019V3s.pdf

    • Cal/OSHA “Hazards of Silica in Construction” e-tool

    https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/etools/08-019/index.htm

    • Guidance on How to Control the Hazard

    https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/etools/08-019/EP08-019All.pdf

    > ISA weblinks to Silica management best practices. ISA Silica Resources

    • “Silica in Construction” Training Kit – weblink from the State of Washington

    http://www.lni.wa.gov/SAFETY/TRAININGPREVENTION/TRAININGKITS/SILICAINCONSTRUCTION/DEFAULT.ASP

    > Preparing a Silica Control Plan. This is an easy online free program:  https://plan.silica-safe.org/

    DISCLAIMER.  This information is general in nature and provided as a member service from sources believed to be reliable, including ISA and the California Dept of Industrial Relations.  However, it should not be construed as legal advice or regulatory guidance from CSA about your particular operations.  Members are encouraged to consult legal counsel with any questions.

  • Assembly Bill No. 1701 Affects Contractors and Subs

    Under existing law, an action may be brought for nonpayment of wages, fringe benefits, or health and welfare or pension fund contributions.

    On or after January 1, 2018, AB 1701 makes general contractors liable for the unpaid wage obligations of subcontractors. Essentially, if subs don’t pay the wages of their workers, the general is liable, regardless of the fact that the general has no contract with the worker. The bill, for all contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2018, requires a direct contractor, as defined, to assume, and be liable for, “specified debt owed to a wage claimant that is incurred by a subcontractor.”

    The bill would require a subcontractor, upon request from the direct contractor, to provide specified information regarding the subcontractor’s and third party’s work on the project and would provide that the direct contractor could withhold disputed sums upon the subcontractor’s failure to provide the requested information, as specified. The bill would provide that these obligations and remedies are in addition to any other remedy provided by law. The bill would provide that its provisions are severable.

    It’s a fairly complicated protocol and we will provide further information.

    Bottom Line: Contractors need to make sure subs pay their workers!

  • Honoring CSA’s Legislative Efforts – 30+ Years Proud

    Building on legislative success in 1983, which resulted in a requirement that just compensation be paid for compelled removal of on-premise signs, in 1986 – 30 years ago – CSA commenced another extraordinary effort to save signs from removal based on height and size when special topographic circumstances exist.

    Under the leadership of Leo March (Integrated Sign) and legal counsel Robert Aran, CSA was able to secure passage of Business & Professions Code section 5499.

    Section 5499 provides:
    Regardless of any other provision of this chapter or other law, no city or county shall require the removal of any on-premises advertising display on the basis of its height or size by requiring conformance with any ordinance or regulation introduced or adopted on or after March 12, 1983, if special topographic circumstances would result in a material impairment of visibility of the display or the owner’s or user’s ability to adequately and effectively continue to communicate with the public through the use of the display. Under these circumstances, the owner or user may maintain the advertising display at the business premises and at a location necessary for continued public visibility at the height or size at which the display was previously erected and, in doing so, the owner or user is in conformance.
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  • Recent Court Rulings: Commercial Speech and the City of Los Angeles

    Several recent court rulings reiterate that commercial speech regulations, including signage restrictions based on content, are subject to “heightened scrutiny” evaluation and that government carries the burden of showing that the challenged regulation advances the Government’s interest in a direct and material way. “That burden is not satisfied by mere speculation or conjecture.” Rather, to survive scrutiny “a restriction on commercial speech must demonstrate that the harms it recites are real and that its restriction will in fact alleviate them to a material degree.”

    Under both California and Federal law, an onsite/offsite distinction is lawful, provided it does not regulate the content of the message, i.e., that differentiating between onsite and offsite signs does not constitute a content-based distinction. In addition, the court succinctly explained and reiterated the longstanding guidance of Central Hudson on how to assess sign regulations. In sum, significantly for the sign industry, the effect is that the status quo has been preserved.

    CSA and ISA continue to work diligently with the city to bring finality to this matter. Along the way, CSA, working with the billboard industry, had to fend off legislation proposing a statewide moratorium on digital signs (legislation penned by the current LA city attorney), as well as re-educate several times new council members and staffers, including a new Planning Director. CSA and ISA retained the services of local lobbyists to assist with the endeavor.

    What is the Lamar case about – and why is it important?

    In the one of the lawsuits, Lamar v. City of Los Angeles (initially decided in 2015), a state lower court judge ruled, among other points, that under the California Constitution there was no material difference between an onsite sign and an offsite sign, and the billboard ban was thus unconstitutional (a result contradictory to prior federal court rulings based on the US Constitution). The City appealed, and in an unusual twist, CSA and ISA filed “amicus” friend of the court briefs supporting the city (as did several Planning groups). CSA/ISA’s position was that if the appellate decision were upheld on appeal in favor of Lamar, it would seriously undermine California’s on-premise sign laws (sponsored by CSA 30 years ago), as well as result in an
    unrestricted proliferation of billboards, i.e., potentially every sign could be used for offsite advertising, jeopardizing the entire on-premise industry, and subjecting on-premise signs along
    the highway to Caltrans regulation.
    Read More – Full CSA Legal and Legislative Update (PDF)

  • May a City require CEQA approval for On-Premise Signs?

    There is an express exemption under CEQA for on-premise signs. Public Resources Code Section 21084 includes a list of classes of projects “which have been determined not to have a significant effect on the environment and which shall, therefore, be exempt from the provisions of CEQA.” See 14 Cal Code of Regulations Section 15300, et seq (CEQA Guidelines).

    Pursuant to 14 CCR Section 15311, dealing with Accessory Structures (Class 11), on-premise signs are categorically exempt and a negative declaration should issue. The authority cited for this provision is Public Resource Code sections 21083 and 21087.

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  • New Worker’s Comp Burden May Affect Sign Contractors

    AB 1897, signed by the Governor in September, is intended to combat the underground economy, by making a party who hires labor through “labor contractors” also responsible for wages and the purchase of Worker’s Compensation coverage.

    1. The bill will take effect January 1, 2015.
    2. The bill applies to “client employers”, defined as a business entity that is provided workers to perform labor within its “usual course of business” from a “labor contractor”.

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  • Legality of Moratoriums

    State law allows 45-day moratoriums (“interim ordinances”) on permit approvals when there is an immediate threat to public health, safety or welfare. Often abused by cities and counties which seem to make very loose findings, a moratorium can be extended for two years. Although an interim ordinance may prohibit development of land uses that conflict with a general or specific plan or pending zoning ordinance, the interim ordinance cannot prohibit the processing of development applications. In other words, the city still must process your application.

    Welfare State

    What constitutes an immediate threat to public health, safety or welfare is a debate applicants often miss out on, because the issues frequently arise on short notice. Even though a city might give notice of a hearing, by the time we learn about the interim ordinance it’s been adopted. Rarely, however, would or should a sign application trigger an immediate threat to public health, safety or welfare.

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  • ADA Shakedown Protection

    This article will bring you up to date on the most important elements of the “attorney shakedown protection” bill.

    Attorney shakedown protection:  Several years ago, the Legislature passed  SB 1186, which prohibits pre-litigation “demands for money” by attorneys; puts into place new provisions to prevent “stacking” of multiple claims to increase statutory damages; reduces statutory damages and provides litigation protections for defendants who correct violations; and establishes priorities for the California Commission on Disabled Accessibility that promote and facilitate disability access compliance. Here are some more specifics on the main provisions of the bill:

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  • Dynamic Signage Considerations

    Certainly Dynamic Digital signage is a market that has been percolating for a while. The massive economic downturn stymied many manufacturers and audio-visual professionals: They could not find a receptive market. Today, prices have dropped dramatically and it seems nearly every business can utilize these wayfinding / advertising/ informational screens. But to serve this market, a few technicalities must be mentioned. For example, electronic waste. As you replace old display screens, California has some rules you must observe.

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  • Fight the Underground Economy

    Licensed sign companies in California are competing against unlicensed sign manufacturers and installers. The California Sign Association works with the California Contractors State License Board and other regulatory agencies to eliminate the unlicensed companies. If you are aware of illegal and unlicensed installations of signs, you can help solve the problem by notifying the Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) of the CSLB. If you don’t want to directly participate, CSA will accept and transmit the information on your behalf.

    The best way to let CSLB know about unlicensed activity on an active job site is by completing the SWIFT Lead Referral form. Use the link below.

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